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Charles Williams with WGC Commercial Lending

Charles Williams/WGC Commercial Lending

Charles Williams is a Partner at WGC Commercial Lending which is a national full service commercial finance company. WGC provides all types of business and commercial real estate financing to small/medium size businesses and commercial real estate owners/investors. In his current role, he works with his clients to gain in-depth understanding of their business and determines the appropriate financing to support each client’s unique business strategy and objectives.

Charles has over 15 years of strategy and finance experience working with small businesses to 500 Fortune companies. His strategy experience includes business, marketing, operations and technology strategy. He has worked for or consulted to businesses across a range of companies and industries that include Cox Enterprises, Delta Airlines, Duke Energy, Walgreens, Deloitte Consulting and Accenture. He has assisted these organizations as well as others in developing and implementing business and financing strategies to grow their top-line as well as their bottom- line.

Charles is a graduate of West Point, has a MS from Central Michigan University and received his MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern University) where he majored in Finance, Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Atlanta CEO Council

The Atlanta CEO Council is an organization of executives invited to exclusive events for the purpose of developing relationships, promoting entrepreneurship and investing in the community.

Raj Rajan/Virima

Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan is co-founder of Virima the world’s first IT Business Operations Automation (IT-BOATM) software that provides a single solution to integrate all aspects of an IT organization. Prior to starting up Virima, Mr. Rajan was the cofounder, President and CEO of Vigilar, Inc, a leading network security technology firm. A highly versatile entrepreneur, he has cofounded several ventures, including eLaunchpad, an early stage venture capital firm/incubator focusing on Internet infrastructure and network security technologies; Emerald Systems, a boutique technology consulting firm; and ResourcIS, an IT recruiting firm. Another earlier success, VerticalOne, a financial aggregator, was sold to S1 in 1999 in a deal valued at $166M. Mr. Rajan serves on the Board of Directors of the above companies and on the advisory boards of several early stage technology firms nationwide.

Mr. Rajan is also involved in several professional and community-related organizations. He was instrumental in establishing the Atlanta CEO Council, and currently serves as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Rajan cofounded and serves on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), a national mentoring organization for technology entrepreneurs. He serves on the Board of Councilors for The Carter Center (President Jimmy Carter’s nonprofit initiative), a leadership advisory group promoting understanding of, and support for, The Carter Center and its activities among Georgia’s private-sector opinion leaders. Mr. Rajan was also selected to Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40′′ Rising Stars in 2000.

Mr. Rajan is also committed to a variety of charitable organizations focused on providing support and education. Beneficiaries include Raksha, (meaning protection in several South Asian languages) a Georgia nonprofit support network for South Asians in distress, and CRY (Child Relief and You),  a US-based group helping deprived children.

Mr. Rajan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Florida Institute of Technology. Mr. Rajan was born in Coimbatore, India and raised in Bangalore, India.

Glenn McGonnigle/TechOperators

Glenn McGonnigle is a General Partner at TechOperators. Prior to launching TechOperators, Glenn was most recently Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based VistaScape Security Systems, a leading provider of enterprise intelligent video surveillance software where he was recruited by the company’s board to raise capital and grow the business. He subsequently oversaw the successful sale of the company to Siemens Building Technologies. An authority on IT and physical security convergence and a frequent contributor and expert speaker for numerous industry publications and events, Glenn helped shape President Bush’s 2005 National Strategy for Maritime Security.

Previously, Glenn was a co-founder and top executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business. For 7 years, he led the business development team in developing sales channels and entering the managed security services market. During his tenure, the company grew from startup to revenues of over $225 million and was recently acquired by IBM for $1.5 billion.

Prior to ISS, he was President and co-founder of Data Integrity Services Corporation, an early-stage provider of WAN-based data management services. Throughout his 24 year career, Glenn has remained focused on emerging technologies and has held a variety of sales and marketing executive positions during the high growth stages of EMC, Epoch Systems, Borland, and Wang Laboratories.

He is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and sits on the board of the Venture Atlanta Conference. In addition, he has served as Entrepreneur in Residence and CapVenture coach supporting Georgia’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). McGonnigle holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia.

Glenn oversees the fund’s investments in Immunet, JouleX, and Endgame Systems.

Peter Baron/Carabiner Communications

Peter Baron is principal of Carabiner Communications, where he acts as a senior-level consultant, offering advice to clients on product positioning and how to leverage the latest market trends. Through more than two decades of high-tech PR experience, Peter has the skills to recognize new opportunities in the marketplace and help clients prepare strategies accordingly. He has worked with entrepreneurs spanning the technology ecosystem including telecommunications, networking, healthcare technology and enterprise software solutions. Peter received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and PR from the University of Utah.

Greg Harley/Burr & Forman

Greg is a partner in the Burr & Forman’s Commercial Litigation group with a concentration on business litigation, class action defense and employment matters. Greg has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation and has handled disputes on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants on a broad range of issues including breach of contract, fraud, bad faith, trade secrets, defamation and unfair business practices claims. While Greg’s practice is centered in Georgia and Alabama, he has represented clients in matters across the United States.

Greg’s clients include national banking institutions, insurers and one of Georgia’s largest residential contracting companies. Greg also currently serves as national litigation counsel for a diversified telecommunications company.

Atlanta Independent Womens Network

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk/bbr Marketing

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is the President and Founder of bbr marketing, a firm that provides marketing strategy and services to professional services firms. By having such a narrow market, she has been able to create a name for herself and her company, and was recently named “One to Watch” by AccountingToday on their Top 100 Most Influential People of 2011. She attributes the awareness and growth of her firm to a number of things, one of the most effective has been making connections with others and actively networking among her peers. She is never hesitant to make introductions to colleagues with the hopes that they will eventually work together, refer business to each other or simply enjoy getting to know each other. She’s even been known to reach out to her competitors, and has made some lasting friendships and alliances because of this strategy. At the end of the day, she feels the good that can be done by connecting people far outweighs any negative impact. And who doesn’t enjoy meeting someone new?

Dolly Evans/Small Business Services

Dolly Evans with Small Business Services has developed three successful businesses over a 20 year period and works with her clients to do the same.  All of her endeavors support the owner managed business and its owners by providing planning and affiliated financial and accounting services. She gives back to the community by serving on local Boards of nonprofits, assisting in building a business foundation that allows the mission of the organization to be met and exceeded.

Carmen Westbrook/Naked-Fashion Help

Carmen Westbrook is an Image Consultant and owner of Naked – Fashion Help. In addition to working with men and women to help them improve their overall image through smart wardrobe choices, she’s developed a 45-minute presentation called “Pull Yourself Together!” that she presents to professional women’s groups. She is on the membership committee of the Atlanta Independent Women’s Network and enjoys volunteering at the non-profit, Dress for Success Atlanta.

Financial Executives International Association – Atlanta Chapter

Jim Wanserski/FEI-Atlanta

Jim Wanserski (principal of consulting firm Wanserski & Associates) is currently serving as President of Financial Executives International Association (“FEI-Atlanta”)—Atlanta Chapter.  FEI-Atlanta is a 250-member affiliate of FEI-National, the “association of choice for Controllers, Treasurers, VPs-Finance & Accounting, and Chief Financial Officers” in the metropolitan area.  Wanserski is a veteran of the telecom and high-tech industries, and has served in all the finance and accounting “chairs” during his public and private company tenure.  However, he’s also worked in consulting for Arthur Andersen Business Consulting, and at a Chicago-based turnaround firm – Morris Anderson & Associates, as well as formed his own firm in 2002.  Most recently, he has fulfilled specialty consulting and management trustee roles as nominated by the United States Department of Justice and appointed to two CEO roles as Management Trustee by two Washington DC-based Federal judges in Verizon’s acquisition of Alltel and AT&T’s acquisition of Centennial Wireless.

Today, Wanserski consults via a variety of projects and roles in several industries, and to the C-Suite.  He has also published articles, and presented some 60 times to universities, accounting, regulatory and ethics organizations on several topics—primarily fraud prevention and detection…having uncovered fraud some dozen times and executed multiple testifying stints during his business career thus far.

Mike McCarthy/FEI-Atlanta

Mike McCarthy is the Vice President of FEI – Atlanta, and is also the CFO with World 50, Inc.

Graham Stieglitz/Burr & Forman

Graham Stieglitz is a Partner with Burr & Forman. Graham’s practice in the Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy group focuses on commercial and bankruptcy litigation. He has experience in commercial reorganizations and workouts, as well as transactional and litigation experience involving commercial transactions, receiverships, real estate and other business-related matters. He has represented debtors, trustees, unsecured and secured creditors in Chapter 11 cases. Graham has also represented financial institutions, commercial lenders, commercial lessors and lessees in bankruptcy cases and structured loan workouts.

Graham is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association, the Turnaround Management Association, the National Funding Association, the Atlanta Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia.

In 2011 and 2012, Graham was named as a leading practitioner in Bankruptcy/Restructuring by the highly regarded Chambers USA, a legal directory featuring client-led intelligence on America’s leading lawyers for business. Since 2007, Graham has been named in the Georgia Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition in Atlanta magazine. The lawyers chosen as Rising Stars represent approximately 2.5 percent of the best up-and-coming attorneys in the state as voted by their peers based on their personal observations. Additionally, Graham was selected as one ofGeorgia Trend’s “2010 Legal Elite.”

Graham graduated from The Westminster Schools in 1991. Graham received his B.A. in Economics from Washington University at St. Louis in 1995, his J.D. from Georgia State University School of Law in 1999, and his LL.M. in Bankruptcy from St. John’s University in 2000.

March Newsletter Article

Atlanta CEO Council Featured on Burr & Forman’s Results Matter Radio

On Tuesday February 19, 2013, Burr & Forman Partner Greg Harley and Elizabeth Gordon, host of Results Matter Radio on Business RadioX®, were joined by Glenn McGonnigle, General Partner at TechOperators, Raj Rajan, Co-Founder of Virima and Peter Baron, a Principal of Carabiner Communications to talk about the Atlanta CEO Council which focuses on the tech sector in Atlanta and to drill down into the current business climate in that sector.

For more than 10 years, the Atlanta CEO Council has provided an exclusive opportunity for technology company C-level executives to connect.  The organization invites tech executives to exclusive events for the purpose of developing relationships, promoting entrepreneurship and investing in the community.

Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan is co-founder of Virima, the world’s first IT Business Operations Automation software and a former Chairman of the Board for the Atlanta CEO Council. Prior to starting up Virima, Mr. Rajan was the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Vigilar, Inc, a leading network security technology firm. A highly versatile entrepreneur, he has co-founded several ventures, including eLaunchpad, an early-stage venture capital firm/incubator focusing on Internet infrastructure and network security technologies, Emerald Systems, a boutique technology consulting firm, and ResourcIS, an IT recruiting firm. Mr. Rajan serves on the Board of Directors of the above companies and on the advisory boards of several early-stage technology firms nationwide. During the interview Raj explained the need for C level execs to meet with their peers and talked about how valuable the organization has been to him.

Glenn McGonnigle agreed saying, “the job of a CEO is a lonely job.” He further explained that no matter how much you like your management team and employees there are just things you should not discuss with them.

Glenn is a General Partner at TechOperators, an early stage investment group that focuses on applying capital and the practical experience of its partners to help entrepreneurs build great technology companies. Prior to launching TechOperators, Glenn was Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based VistaScape Security Systems and was a Co-Founder and top executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business.

Peter Baron, a Principal with Carabiner Communications, also joined the discussion and added his views from a marketing and PR perspective. He explained that the Atlanta CEO Council is a “true peer group” and the while many networking events are too big and “too full of people trying to sell you something,” Atlanta CEO Council is designed and operated to facilitate solid relationships that will truly help businesses grow and executives flourish.

To learn more about the Atlanta CEO Council and the members featured on the show, listen to the complete interview on the Results Matter Radio page for Business RadioX®.